I like to throw at least one holiday party a year. Since I’m a professional chef, my friends naturally want me to host it since they can always expect really great food (can I blame them?!). Being a hostess is a great opportunity to show your hospitality and gratitude for your friends and family and celebrate all that the holiday season brings. However, most of become overwhelmed with the pressure to perform and deliver. The problem I see is that sometimes we make it more work than necessary.
Here are my tips for hosting a (relatively) stress free holiday party!
- Be Aware of Your Guests – Before you start planning, shopping and get wrapped up in the logistics of the party, make sure you know exactly who is going to be there. These days, not every person has the same diet and it’s important to be aware of any food allergies or food intolerances. If you don’t know, simply ask them. Better yet, make it easier on yourself and ask them if they’d be willing to bring at least one dish that they’ll be able to enjoy.
- Don’t Do All the Cooking – As hosts, why do we feel that we have to do ALL of the cooking? That is a silly notion. You are gracious to open your home you shouldn’t have to make every single dish too (unless of course you absolutely want to!). Make it more of a potluck where people bring a side dishes, desserts, and you provide the main entree and appetizers. You will be happy that you asked them to bring something. Don’t feel guilty!
- Keep the Menu Simple – When you are hosting a holiday party, keep it simple yet sophisticated. Don’t worry about having a 12-course meal with dishes that no one has ever heard of before. Keep the meals basic, but delicious! You might have a sophisticated palate and enjoy cavier, but most likely your friends aren’t huge fans. Plan a menu that will be a crowd-pleaser, which are usually the more simple dishes like mashed potatoes. My pro-chef tip: Take a basic dish but add a twist, like garlic mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes with cinnamon.
- Don’t Try Something New – As a chef, I am all about experimenting and trying new recipes. However, when it comes to holiday parties, that is not the time to try recipes you’ve never made before! Even as a chef, the first time I make a recipe, it’s not perfect. There are things I would change or do differently. Maybe add less salt or cook it a little less time. You don’t want the pressure of having it turn out perfectly the first time. Stick with the tried and true.
- Plan in Advance – This might be a no-brainer, but how many of you have started shopping for the ingredients the morning of? Don’t do that to yourself! When we plan our client’s menus, we buy the ingredients at least a day or two in advance so we can spend time crafting the perfect meal instead of worrying about making last minute runs to the grocery store. Having more time to cook and get your house ready for guests will certainly lighten your load!
If you simply don’t want to worry about making food or asking guests to bring food this year, you are in luck! We are already booking for our holiday meals and catering. When you book, you will also receive a free dessert on us!